Equine fly control has been a constant battle for horse barns. The combination of heat and manure alone is enough to encourage flies to use your barn as a breeding ground, but many tools are available to avoid having flies ruin your time with your horse.
Equine fly control should start with a clean barn, clean pastures and a clean horse. Keeping your pastures, stalls and barn picked up is an excellent way to avoid attracting flies. This includes keeping all food products enclosed in containers. Pastures should be picked up at least once a week, and stalls daily. By keeping your horse groomed and clean, he will not attract flies as easily.
The market offers the easiest equine fly control in the form of fly predators. Roughly the size of small flying ants, these insects are harmless to anything except fly pupae (cocoon stage). By destroying future generations of flies, the longer you use predators, the less flies you will have. Monthly cost is about $3 US Dollars(USD)per horse.
There are also fly sprays available for equine fly control at various prices. Natural sprays use ingredients such as marigold, chrysanthemum, citronella or cedar as their base. The advantage in using a natural equine fly control spray is that it repels flies whereas chemical sprays kill flies once they come in contact. Natural sprays are effective without making contact.
By the hottest part of the season, you might have to resort to chemical fly sprays. If used in moderation, they are effective and safe for your horse. It is suggested that you give hose downs or more frequent baths to your horse to avoid chemical buildup.
Other options for equine fly control include adding vinegar or garlic to your horses feed. As with introducing any new product, even natural ones, it is recommended to begin with a low dose and be alert for any changes in behavior for the first several weeks.
For very sensitive horses, fly masks, sheets and leggings are an option. Many fly masks are made of comfortable, cool, UV treated mesh that protects the face and ears from flies, insects, dirt and sun. Options come with or without ears, and with a long nose for horses sensitive to sunburn.
Equine fly control does not have to become a full time job. With a few simple aids, you can forget about flies and spend your time enjoying your barn and horses.